The New Year is rapidly approaching and with it, many resolutions to exercise more. This often involves joining a gym – and while some new gym members will take advantage of personal trainer sessions, others will fend for themselves, guessing what is and is not appropriate in a gym setting.
Anyone’s desire to improve their health is noble, but there are times when breaking gym etiquette can be both an aggravation and a danger. Gym veterans and rookies alike need to observe the basic rules. Below are 7 guidelines for having a pleasant and safe gym experience.
In the midst of a fantastic workout, it’s often easy to lose track of time. But unfortunately, there are times your gym may be packed with those who also want to “feel the burn.” To keep members moving, and wait times manageable, most gyms post guidelines for peak hours (the most typical being 30 minutes per machine). Be a good gym neighbor and abide by these maximums.
Wiping down equipment
We all break a sweat – in fact, it’s the very reason we’re AT the gym. But live by the maxim “to each his own” and take your sweat with you as you depart a piece of equipment. Have a towel with you at all times to clean your machine, leaving it in optimal condition for the next exerciser.
Picking up after yourself
Following on the wipe-down, remember to replace free weights, readjust pins, and put back any equipment you’ve relocated. Not only is it courteous, it’s also safe. Gyms have a lot of foot traffic – a misplaced dumbbell can easily fell one of your workout comrades.
Respecting the equipment
Loudly dropping weights or breaking a piece of equipment and not either 1.) fixing it, or 2.) calling attention to it are major no-nos.
You may be into the latest One Direction jam, but that doesn’t mean everyone else is. So if you’re going to put on your own music, be sure that while it’s loud enough for you, it’s inaudible to others.
Maintaining appropriate distances
Exercises – especially those that involve weights – can be dangerous, both for the person performing them, and those in the immediate area. Working out too closely to the person next to you can result in a number of injuries – even without weights. A stray elbow can easily crack a nose.
Talking on your cellphone
By now we should all be cognizant of how annoying cellphones can be to those not in the conversation. Like movie theaters and other types of communal activity, talking on your cellphone while exercising is very disruptive to others. Weight-lifting takes concentration, cardio takes stamina – both are made more difficult by the annoyance of a chatterer.
No one can fault you for catching a bug, but if you happen to be sick, consider that gyms (like airplanes and kindergartens) have an impressive ability to spread illness – after all, you’re touching a LOT of equipment. It’s best to do your sit-ups at home for a few days and recover, rather than risk the health of your fellow gym members.
Hopefully these tips will allow you to have a productive, safe gym experience in the New Year and beyond. As with most things etiquette, most of it merely boils down to the Golden Rule: Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.
What are a few other pieces of gym etiquette we’re missing? Please share in the comments below!